Republicans Kill The Young Who Do Their Dirty Work

An article in the February 18 issue of The Nation details how the Marine Corps treats its members who have suffered trauma leading to mental problems. Basically they throw them out in the street, deny them benefits, and pretend they don’t really exist. It’s not much of a stretch that they look on the suicides of these Marines as a good thing, since it obviates the need for lifelong disability payments. I’ve taken a few paragraphs from the online issue at The Nation website, but you may need a subscription. Otherwise buy a copy or go to the library (be sure to aggravate the FBI agents taking notes on who reads such magazines). This is sickening.

And it’s the Republican way. Remember this when John McCain talks about a hundred more years of war. Remember this when George Bush talks about democracy. Remember this in November.

Add to these factors the political and financial pressures surrounding the Iraq War, which have resulted in a mental health system so underfunded that last year a Pentagon Mental Health Task Force termed its staffing “woefully inadequate.” The Navy, which provides psychological healthcare to the Marines, has filled only 72 percent of its psychologist billets and 62 percent of its psychiatrist billets.

“The funding has just been awful, the worst I’ve ever seen in my twenty years in the military,” says Dr. Katherine Scheirman, a retired Air Force colonel who served as chief of medical operations in the Air Force’s Europe headquarters from July 2004 to September 2006. Scheirman says the current political environment has made it “impossible” to give wounded soldiers proper care. “It’s all about money,” she says. “Every kid that gets kicked out with PTSD is gonna be a lifetime of disability payments for the government. Every kid who gives up and kills himself, nothing.” Scheirman’s unit was in charge of evacuating the wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan and transporting them to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and on to the United States. She says politics infused every aspect of care. When she tried to beef up the hospital staff at Landstuhl, she was told, “No, we can’t put more doctors or nurses in there because it will look like we expect more casualties.” She was not allowed to send the visibly wounded home on commercial planes. “The rule,” she says, “was they couldn’t fly commercial if they had injuries that showed because it would upset the American people.” The military planes were so cold the Air Force ended up running clothing drives for hats, scarves and mittens–a situation that continues today. In one e-mail requesting donations, a lieutenant colonel wrote, “Mittens are preferred because they often fit better over wounded hands/fingers.”

“What kind of Army doesn’t provide mittens for its wounded soldiers?” Scheirman asks. “What’s sad is this isn’t the way it’s ever been before. I came into the military under Reagan, and George Bush’s dad–they treated people well. The Clintons treated people really, really well. It’s only this Administration that acts like the lives of these soldiers are expendable.”

 

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2 Responses

  1. I came into the military under Reagan, and George Bush’s dad–they treated people well. The Clintons treated people really, really well. It’s only this Administration that acts like the lives of these soldiers are expendable.”

    Don’t you appreciate that wonderful, heaven-inspired love from our pastor-in-chief?

    Like

  2. Republicans make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside – it itches like hell and I keep throwing up furballs.

    Like

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